Sunfield School and Children’s Home is set within over 58 acres of classic English farmland, with hedges, meadows and large mature trees surrounding the school and residential buildings. There is a wide diversity of ecosystems within this, including woodlands, wetlands and grassland. We care for a variety of livestock including sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and hens. There is also a historical walled garden and 19th century parkland around the school itself.
We encourage every child and young person at the school to spend time during their day outdoors; in the gardens, with the livestock on the farm and in the woodlands. Engaging in the natural environment, experiencing the seasons, helping to grow vegetables and fruit and meeting and caring for farm animals all provide opportunities for individual development.
This can begin with early experiences of sensory engagement (e.g. touching, tasting, feeling), moving through to making relationships (e.g. feeding a sheep), through to contributing to the wider school community and locality (e.g. helping to harvest and pack vegetables for the school kitchens or shop).
The farm environment offers the opportunity for a myriad of entry points depending on where the child and young person’s journey begins and, through bespoke tutor led sessions, the child and young person’s individual learning needs are planned and catered for. To do this, carefully designed activities and infrastructure are created to give the safest and most accessible opportunities for engagement in the farm landscape for our children and young people.
Engagement in the natural world is an integral part of our educational offer which contributes to the child and young person’s development of integration, understanding and well-being. Our little piece of the natural world, our farmland and grounds, are viewed as an educational journey that the child and young person can move through at their own pace.